When it comes to pet insurance premiums, not all breeds are created equal. According to PetPlan Pet Insurance, breeds that have higher health risk factors are going to pay more for pet insurance than owners of other breeds. Of course, insurance for these dogs is all the more important because they are more likely to make an unexpected trip to the vet.
According to Petplan claims data, the five most expensive breeds based on popularity among their policy holders are:
#1 – Cane Corso
#2 – Saint Bernard
#3 – Dogue De Bordeaux
#4 – Irish Wolfhound
#5 – Bloodhound
The cost of insurance for these breeds is approximately two to three times more than a Labrador Retriever, which is Petplan’s most commonly insured purebred.
The reasons for the increased cost vary by breed, but one thing each of these breeds has in common: size.
While most pet parents would agree that a larger dog just means more of them to love, these heavy setters have a higher incidence of serious orthopedic diseases like hip or elbow dysplasia and cruciate ligament disease, which are require expensive treatment.
According to Petplan, Rosie, a three-year-old Dogue De Bordeux, not only tore a cruciate ligament in December but also tore the second ligament just four months later. Rosie is on the mend and still receiving treatment.
So far, Petplan has reimbursed her family over $7,000 for her expenses.
If you are thinking about insurance for your dog, regardless of breed, Petplan says these are the three must-ask questions before purchasing the policy:
1. Does the policy cover all illnesses and injuries as standard?
A good value plan will include coverage for hereditary and chronic conditions as standard – which means there’s no need to purchase add-ons to basic coverage. Options to buy things like hip dysplasia riders or additional coverage for chronic diseases like cancer or diabetes should raise a red flag. Pets who develop chronic conditions should also be covered into old age; some companies cover chronic conditions initially then exclude the condition as pre-existing during the next policy term. A good policy covers chronic conditions for life.
2. Are there limits on how much the provider will reimburse for different conditions?
Some providers use what’s called a benefit schedule to determine how much they will pay out for a condition, and this is often a source of dissatisfaction from pet parents. Say a company pays up to $395 for an allergic reaction, but a pet’s reaction requires a hospital stay and fluid therapy that costs $1,500. A benefit schedule plan will reimburse $395, regardless of complications that arise or additional treatments needed to resolve the condition. A provider that reimburses based on actual veterinary fees will cover the entire bill (minus the deductible and optional co-pay). Per-incident or per-illness caps on coverage should tell pet parents to move on to another provider.
3. Are pre-existing conditions covered?
This is a trick question, because no pet insurance provider can cover pre-existing conditions. Pet parents simply can’t receive a cancer diagnosis and then go out and buy a pet insurance policy to pay for the treatments. There are, however, insurance providers who make a distinction between curable and incurable conditions – reinstating coverage for curable conditions, like a urinary tract infection, after a certain amount of time passes with no recurrence. Pet parents should ask about this before buying coverage.